now blogging at

Mindful of France


Today marks the “30 days to go” point.  My mind reflects my surroundings … half-packed boxes, scrawled to-do lists, piles of things with sticky notes on them and of course, baking on the bench – which is my form of procrastination.  I should be focused on packing a few boxes a day or crossing at least one task off the to-do lists, but instead today, I reveled in the opportunity to bake a birthday cake for a friend.  It made me realise cooking is my grounding point.  It’s the space in which I feel most calm, most purposeful, and most effective.

My body is still here in Australia but my mind is very much wandering through the green vineyards of the French countryside or staring out my new bedroom window at the ice-capped Pyrenees.  Not exactly helpful but something I can’t seem to change. Just like when I was back at high school, I know I’ll leave the bulk of the workload until the last minute.


This will be my last post from Australia … next time you hear from me, I will have two feet firmly planted on French territory.  I will be practicing my sing-songy greetings “bonjour madame” as I waltz into the boulangerie each morning and my mind will have clicked over to thinking in my heart language.  I have so many thoughts and questions about what that time will look like and how it will feel.  How will the kids adapt?  Will they feel a connection to France as I do?  Will hubby love the space and time to think?  Will he really enjoy not being able to communicate as he so often jokes about?  What sort of new rhythm will we find?  How will my schedule differ?  Can I really step away from being busy and involved in so many projects, to simply focus on family, writing and my new purpose (whatever that may be) overseas?

I hope you stick around to share this journey with me as I discover the answers to these questions.  It will no doubt be a period of many lessons, realizations and perhaps a few challenges.  My not-so-secret ambition is to get myself invited into the homes of older French people who still cook the traditional way and haven’t yet been infected with the fast-food epidemic that strangles Australians.  I am naively optimistic that they will passionately share their favourite family recipes that have been passed down through the ages.  I imagine myself sitting across the (two hundred year old) table from a man who looks seventy but is actually well into his nineties.  His eyes are twinkling as he retells a story his grandchildren have heard too many times before.  Pride is mixed with nostalgia as he recalls family meals that his grandmother spent the day preparing.  I’m looking forward to having all the time in the world to hear these stories and more, to meet the farmers, and providores of the incredibly rich food the South-West region of France has to offer.

There’ll be plenty of recipes along the way to share with you.  And no doubt much inspiration for my instagram account. Let’s stay in touch online. An Aussie family is about to unplug from their busy life and embark on a year in a foreign country, moving from a big city to a regional village. Most of us don’t speak the language and we have no return tickets.  Our visa will allow us to stay for a year but so far we’ve barely planned the first month! Sounds terrifying and perhaps even a little crazy … but the truth is, this is my dream. And I couldn’t be happier.

With grace and gusto,



Author: graceandgusto

I'm 34, an Australian mum of 3 kids under 7 (currently living in the South of France) and I love design, cooking, my family (not in that order) and learning new things ...

13 thoughts on “Mindful of France

  1. Oh my gosh so exciting!! What an adventure you have ahead. We were there for 10 days in July and I already want to go back.


  2. Awesome Kate. Beautifully written. Will follow the journey for sure. So proud of you for living your dreams. You go girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bonjour Kate!
    I am really excited for you & family! What a great adventure coming up! Spontaneity makes magic things to happen! Haha…perfect excuse to not organise too much! 😉
    I will definitely follow up all your French stories!
    Bon voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How exciting! Good luck with the next month of packing and preparing. Can’t wait to hear about your new life in France!


  5. Great to hear how you are getting on. I’m enjoying following your posts and experiences from familiar territory. Keep them coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jennifer 🙂 we’re moving into “your” apartment in September for four months! Any tips on best restaurants in town? I noticed there’s a few! All the best, Kate


      • Oh, how fabulous! I wondered what you had ended up deciding to do for the second part of the stay. Do give our best to the Australians above you 😉 It depends what you are looking for but the ‘best’ restaurant is definitely La Galerie – it’s comparatively pricey, but great food. The takeaway pizza is the best of the options in our opinion – and comparatively affordable! If the vietnamese-French couple are still running the cafe in Nebbias, try there. There food and hospitality is great. All seasonal, organic produce, freshly sourced each day.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m looking forward to following your blog. Good luck with final preparations.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s